Leon v. Galceran - 78 U.S. 185 (1870)
U.S. Supreme Court
Leon v. Galceran, 78 U.S. 11 Wall. 185 185 (1870)
Leon v. Galceran
78 U.S. (11 Wall.) 185
1. A suit for mariners' wages in personam is maintainable at common law, and is within the exception of the ninth section of the Judiciary Act defining the admiralty jurisdiction.
2. It is no objection to the jurisdiction of a state court in such a suit that the process of sequestration or attachment has been used to bring the vessel on which the services were rendered under the dominion of the court, for the purpose of subjecting it to such judgment as might be rendered in the cause.
3. And a bond given to relieve the vessel so sequestered or attached is properly sued on in a state court.
Galceran and two other sailors brought each a suit in personam, in one of the state courts of Louisiana against Maristany, owner of the schooner Gallege, to recover mariners' wages, and had the schooner, which was subject to a lien and "privilege" in their favor, according to the laws of Louisiana, similar in some respects to the principles of the maritime law, sequestered by the sheriff of the parish. The writ of sequestration was levied upon the schooner, which was afterwards released upon Maristany's giving a forthcoming bond, with one Leon as surety, for the return of the vessel to the sheriff on the final judgment. Judgments having been rendered by default against Maristany, the owner, in personam, for the amounts claimed, with the mariner's lien and privilege upon the property sequestered, a writ of fi. fa. was issued and demand made without effect, of the defendant in execution, by the sheriff, for the return of the property bonded. On the return of the sheriff that the property bonded could not be found, suits (the suits below) were brought in the same court by the three sailors against Leon, to enforce in personam against him the obligation of the forthcoming bonds, and judgments were rendered in personam against Leon, the surety, in their favor, for the amounts fixed by the original judgments. From the judgments thus rendered in the court below (that having been the highest court in Louisiana where a decision in the suit could be had), Leon took these writs of error.